January 27, 2017
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AHA: Prevalence of HF projected to rise dramatically; CVD still No. 1 killer in US, world

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The number of U.S. adults living with HF rose by approximately 800,000 between 2009 and 2014, and is projected to rise 46% by 2030, according to the American Heart Association’s 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.

According to the report, the latest data indicate that CVD is still the most common cause of death in the United States and the world.

“We know that advances in [CV] health are not distributed evenly across the population,” Emilia J. Benjamin, MD, SCM, FAHA, professor of medicine in the section of cardiovascular medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and chair of the update’s writing group, said in a press release. “In particular, individuals who live in rural communities, have less education, have lower incomes, and are ethnic or racial minorities have an undue burden of [CVD] and its risk factors.”

American adults living with HF rose from approximately 5.7 million in 2009-2012 to approximately 6.5 million in 2011-2014, and the figure is projected to reach 8 million by 2030, the researchers wrote.

Paul Muntner, PhD, MHSc, professor and vice chair in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a member of the writing panel, said in the release that the rise in HF incidents could be tied to more people surviving MI, as prior MI increases risk for HF, but aging of the population and increase in other comorbidities could also be factors.

Paul Muntner
Paul Muntner

Leading cause of death

According to the researchers, the latest data indicate that CVD killed 17.3 million lives worldwide in 2013, making it the leading cause of death; 92.1 million U.S. adults, more than one-third, have some form of CVD, attributable to 807,775 deaths in 2014; MI occurs in approximately 790,000 Americans each year, killing approximately 114,000; stroke occurred in approximately 795,000 Americans in 2014, killing approximately 133,000; and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest affected approximately 350,000 Americans in 2014, killing nearly 90% of them.

Some form of CVD is present in nearly half of non-Hispanic black U.S. adults (women, 47.7%; men, 46%), the researchers wrote.

Among U.S. deaths attributable to CVD, CHD (45.1%) is the leading cause, followed by stroke (16.5%), hypertension (9.1%), HF (8.5%) and diseases of the arteries (3.2%), according to the researchers.

However, the annual death rate attributable to CHD declined 35.5% from 2004 to 2014, and the death rate from stroke dropped 28.7% from 2004 to 2014, whereas the absolute number of stroke deaths declined 11.3% during that time, they wrote.

Life’s Simple 7

The researchers also compiled statistics related to the AHA’s “Life’s Simple 7” measures — not smoking, engaging in physical activity, healthy diet, appropriate body weight, control of cholesterol, control of BP and control of blood glucose.

They found that tobacco use is declining in the United States but increasing worldwide; that 30.4% of U.S. adults do not engage in leisure-time physical activity; that U.S. consumption of whole grains has increased and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has decreased; that U.S. obesity prevalence rose from 30.5% in 1999-2000 to 37.7% in 2013-2014; that nearly 1 in 3 U.S. adults have elevated LDL; that 34% of U.S. adults have hypertension, a figure projected to increase to 41.4% by 2030; and that 9.1% of U.S. adults are known to have diabetes. – by Erik Swain

Disclosure: Benjamin reports no relevant financial disclosures. Muntner reports receiving a research grant from Amgen. Please see the full report for a list of the relevant financial disclosures of the other researchers and reviewers.